BOOM offseason recruit Josh Bryce admits the lure of returning home to take up a senior coaching role almost led him to cut short his tenure at the Queanbeyan Tigers.
But the prospect of parting ways with Queanbeyan just as the club appears on the cusp of an extended period of success ultimately proved a non-starter for the 22-year-old.
On Monday, Bryce became the latest Tiger to recommit to the club after re-signing for the 2013 season. He joins player/coach Kade Klemke and young guns Steve Jolliffe and Sam Jensen in putting pen to paper for next season at Dairy Farmers Park.
Off contract at the end of this season, Bryce had attracted the attention of a number of clubs including several in Victoria close to his hometown of Jerilderie.
“It was a pretty close call to be honest,” Bryce said when it came to weighing up his immediate playing future. “I had a few clubs approach me about coaching roles and there’s a bit more money to be spent down there. Especially when there is a senior coaching role being offered it’s always going to be enticing.
“I’ve always thought I’d head back closer to home eventually but it’s not the right time yet. It would be lovely to move back closer to family and friends but realistically, the best opportunities for me are up here and I can’t walk away from those.”
Bryce, who has always spoken freely of his own coaching ambitions, will also take on an assistant coaching role with Queanbeyan next season.
“I like to think head coaching is something that’s in my future,” Bryce said. “Kade has high aspirations to go to an AFL club down the track. If he gets a gig higher up in the future and I’m still around, I’ll put my hand up here at the Tigers and hopefully the club might see a bit in me.”
Both Bryce and Klemke share similar playing backgrounds and coaching styles, a fact Bryce said would only aid his own coaching development.
More immediately however, Bryce’s primary focus is on this weekend’s crucial semi-final showdown against the Sydney Swans at Manuka Oval.
The Tigers will go into the match as underdogs against a powerful Swans outfit that will likely boast AFL calibre talent across the park in the likes of Andrejs Everitt, Tony Armstrong, Matt Spangher and Jarred Moore.
“There’s no doubt Sydney has got plenty of high quality players but a lot of those blokes are playing for AFL games, they’re playing for their own spots,” Bryce said. “We’ve got 23 players all working together for one reason and that’s the only way to beat a team of super stars.
“They’re all great players in their own right but the belief in our playing group at the moment is that we can win against anyone and we’re going to take that belief into the finals.”
Who: Queanbeyan Tigers v Sydney Swans
Where: Manuka Oval
When: Saturday, 2pm